A jet was named after Group Captain Lionel Rees 220619 CREDIT RAF.jpg
RAF

Original Fighter Ace Honoured With Rare Aircraft Dedication

The dedication recognises his achievements and valour during both World Wars.

A jet was named after Group Captain Lionel Rees 220619 CREDIT RAF.jpg

The ceremony took place at RAF Valley in Wales (Picture: RAF).

One of Britain’s earliest fighter aces has been honoured at RAF Valley on Friday.

A jet was named after Group Captain Lionel Rees, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry in the air during the First World War.

The dedication recognises his achievements and valour during both the First and Second World Wars. 

Following the ceremony at RAF Valley, the newly-named aircraft made a special flypast over Group Captain Rees’ home town.

Group Captain Lionel Rees VC was honoured with a jet named after him 220619 CREDIT RAF.jpg
The Group Captain's family attended the ceremony from all around the world (Picture: RAF).

It is the first time that a Royal Air Force aircraft has been named after an individual since the late 1960s.

Group Captain Lionel Rees, from Caernarfon, Wales, joined 11 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps in early 1915.

He rapidly went on to become the first Officer Commanding of 32 Squadron. 

He received the Victoria Cross for his actions on the 1 June 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, after single-handedly taking on ten enemy aircraft.

Both squadrons, which retained their numbers when the RFC became part of the newly-formed RAF in 1918, were represented during the ceremony.

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A celebration took place in Group Captain Lionel Rees' Welsh hometown (Picture: RAF).

Guests included the current OC of 32 Squadron Wing Commander Caroline Viles and the senior RAF officer in Wales Air Commodore Adrian Williams.

"The Royal Air Force is proud to be able to remember the valour and service of Welshman Group Captain Lionel Rees," said Air Commodore Williams.

"Naming a current RAF aircraft after him, not only recognises his many achievements, but also serves to inspire those of us who serve in the RAF today."

The event was a special occasion for all of the personnel involved, but particularly for Rees’ relatives who are travelling from the Bahamas and the USA to be at the ceremony. 

"We are all extremely honoured and excited that my father is being recognised in this way," said Group Captain Rees’ son Olvin at the ceremony.

"We know that naming an RAF aircraft after a person is something that happens rarely, so this makes this really special."

he newly-named aircraft made a special flypast over Group Captain Rees’ home town 220619 CREDIT RAF.jpg
The newly-named aircraft made a special flypast over Group Captain Rees’ home town (Picture: RAF).

The event was supported by the Air Historical Branch which is putting on a special display of Lionel Rees’ life in Caernarfon. 

The exhibition is already proving popular with the Mayor of Caernarfon stating it was an honour to be part of the celebrations.